Thoughts and input on anything related to wet shaving or men's grooming.
Tinman, ( chuckle ) I dunno, but that more or less happened with me. For the first 20 years or so while I shaved with a DE ( a long handled Gillette Adjustable ) I just used canned foam and did one pass. Then for Xmas my then fiance got me a boar brush and a wooden bowl of shave soap from C&E and...'wow!..this IS better!' ( and more fun to use ) so I got into that. Eventually I started to wonder if there were any more products of this type available anywhere ( I suspected particularly England because that's where the C&E stuff was mostly made ) so I started to look into that. It took a long time and some ingenuity because this was before the internet but eventually I discovered the first two of these old English grooming firms; Trumpers and Floris. Then we started to make trips to NYC and I eventually found the rest. The C&E soap was replaced by Trumpers and I bought my first badger brush and the lather and the experiance moved to another level...and so it went. Like others here I went through years of experimentation, much of it before these shave forums started up, but some of it after as a result of information shared here. Eventually I settled into what things work best for me and as it turned out most of them were English products that are not inexpensive ( although one can certainly pay still more ). Other gentlemen never go through this process. Our esteemed member Buzz still uses the same brush, the same razor, and a similar hard shave soap ( his original favourite having been discontinued ) since some time in the '70s....but then again, either by luck or design, he started with some of the very best there was and is so, in a sense, there was no where 'upward' for him to go anyway. Regarding DE blades, while I may have become somewhat more discerning over time, the main thing was that I was totally accustomed to the very best for over two decades so when they started to be cheapened, buddy, I noticed. For someone just coming into all this relatively recently it would be a different experience; they would not have the same pre-existing referent frame. Whatever...that's just my 'story', I'm glad that you are enjoying the shaves you're getting!
Gordon, Thanks for the interesting background ... sure seems a lot easier to make this change in the internet age when info, even if only opinion, is readily available on every product imaginable. Also, although a trip to NYC sounds like fun, it's no longer a short commute, and I'm glad for on-line vendors with good products and reliable service. I've not tried many English products other than a TOBS cream and soap, both of which were very good. I plan to buy more new and different things after I finish what I have and expect I'll try some of the more established products just to see what all the fuss is about.. No matter, I'm happy to have made the change and even with some modest experimentation and purchases feel like I'm saving a lot of money. I'm not really too concerned about a few dollars, it was more the irritation of paying so much for a razor and carts that seem so simple. I expect I'll settle down to use modestly priced shaving items since there are so many that I enjoy. cheers, bill